E&E | Demonstrators plan protest ahead of final decision over future of Devon’s school lollipop patrollers

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15 February 2016

Demonstrators plan protest ahead of final decision over future of Devon’s school lollipop patrollers

A demonstration is being organised outside Exeter’s County Hall this week to coincide with when Devon County Council decide the fate of Devon’s school lollipop patrollers.

A group of parents, children and possibly lollipop patrollers are planning to stage a protest at 1.45pm on the steps outside the main entrance of County Hall ahead of a full council meeting this Thursday. Protestors will be wearing visibility jackets and holding lollipops.

It is being organised by mum-of-two Stella Cahill, from Stoke Hill, Exeter, who has been among a group of parents involved in the Save our School Lollipop Patrollers campaign.

Stella said: “The plan is to be there as the councillors go in for their meeting at 2.15pm.

“I have one child a Stoke Hill Junior School and my other goes to Stoke Hill Infant School. We did have two school crossing patrollers – one at a crossing between the schools and one down the roundabout near the schools. We now just have one by the schools. If that patroller is taken away too I think someone will get hurt because cars speed down the road and visibility is not good. You also get children from the juniors crossing by themselves to come over the infants to meet their parents and siblings.

“I don’t know how our school will fund it if the council decide not to. There is not a vast amount of money spare in anyone’s budget.”

Despite overwhelming opposition from the public, schools and councillors to cease funding school lollipop patrollers, the council’s cabinet approved the proposal at its meeting last week and it is now up to full council to give it the final go ahead.

The reason behind the cost cutting plans is to save £250,000 a year from the county council budget. Instead the cost will transfer to schools, with the patrollers themselves employed by a third party that would deliver the service on a full-cost recovery or commercial basis.

If schools decide not to fund the cost of their patrol, the alternatives are for it to be run by volunteers or to lose the service.

To make sure the service continues to be delivered safely, the council says it is prepared to continue a degree of support such as establishing and monitoring quality standards, providing training and doing risk assessments.

Andy Hannan, Devon County Councillor for Priory and St Leonard’s, said: “Labour councillors are proposing an amendment to the council budget to transfer £250,000 from members’ locality budgets, reducing them all from £10,000 to £6,000 each, in order to maintain DCC’s provision of school crossing patrols.

“In other words, we’re giving all councillors a chance to make a contribution from funds they have to support good causes in their own communities.”

For details of joining the protest on Thursday visit ‘save our crossing patrols protest’ on Facebook.